Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump are seeking more information about discussions Atlanta prosecutors had with the Biden White House, as well as with the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Trump has claimed for some time that the election interference case brought against him by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., is tainted by ties to both entities. A legal filing this week from one of Mr. Trump’s co-defendants in the case provided new details about the contacts. The former president and 14 of his allies face racketeering and other charges in the inquiry.
It has been known since 2021, when Ms. Willis’s began her investigation, that she sought to make use of evidence gathered by the House Jan. 6 committee. Her office’s contacts with the White House Counsel’s Office came in 2022, as she was gathering facts and evidence about the conduct of Trump White House officials and seeking to compel their testimony before a special grand jury.
One of the officials who would be subpoenaed to testify was a former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone.
The disclosures came in expense reports from Nathan Wade, the outside lawyer hired by Ms. Willis to lead the Trump prosecution. They were included in a public filing this week from Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign official who is a defendant in the case.
The filing thrust Mr. Wade into the spotlight, accusing him of being romantically involved with Ms. Willis and suggesting that their relationship was the reason she chose Mr. Wade for the high-paying job. Lawyers for Mr. Wade’s wife, Jocelyn Wade, issued a subpoena this week to Ms. Willis, seeking her appearance in a divorce action that is in progress.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, has asked the state’s governor and its attorney general to investigate the matter of Mr. Wade’s appointment. Mr. Trump has used the allegations of an affair to renew his attacks on the prosecution.
“When is Fani going to drop the case, or should it be dropped for her?” Mr. Trump asked in a social media post this week.
The court papers did not include any proof of the relationship between the two prosecutors; rather, it asserted that they had been seen “in a personal relationship capacity” around Atlanta, and claimed that people close to both prosecutors had confirmed their relationship. Mr. Roman’s lawyer is seeking to unseal filings in the Wade divorce case.
Ms. Willis’s office has so far remained silent on the matter, except to say that it will reply in court to the assertions that have been made.
Mr. Wade’s expense reports show that he traveled to Athens, Ga., for a conference with the White House Counsel’s Office on May 23, 2022. It is not clear why the meeting took place in Athens. It occurred at a time when Ms. Willis’s office was preparing to subpoena dozens of witnesses to appear before a special grand jury she convened in Atlanta, whose members would spend several months listening to testimony.
Mr. Wade’s billing records indicate that an “Interview with DC/White House” took place in mid-November 2022, while the special grand jury’s work was still underway. At the time, Ms. Willis’s office was battling in court to secure the testimony of another former official, Mark Meadows, who had served as White House chief of staff during the 2020 election. Mr. Meadows was later among those indicted in the case.
Mr. Meadows’s aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a central figure in the House Jan. 6 hearings, was also among the witnesses who testified before the special grand jury in Georgia.
Norman Eisen, a former special counsel in the Obama administration, said it was common for the White House Counsel’s Office to become involved when the testimony of officials from former administrations is sought, because there may be issues of executive privilege.
Mr. Eisen said his advice to former White House officials has been “to tell the prosecutors you’re going to need to get clearance from the White House, or at least to simply inform the White House that this is going to happen and give them an opportunity to object, without asking for their permission as a precondition” to testify.
Talks with the Biden administration were not always productive for Ms. Willis’s office. The Department of Justice thwarted its attempts to interview Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official in the Trump administration who was later indicted in Georgia.
Mr. Trump, Mr. Meadows and Mr. Clark have all pleaded not guilty, as has Mr. Roman.